This time last year, fed up and tired from all the things I’d been trying to meet people, I decided to start a book club. I’ve always loved to read and I had to guess that there were other people like me in this town; I just hadn’t found them yet. I chose a popular forum that I’d been using in my own pursuit (primarily because they offered me half off to start my own group) and a new book club was born.
I’d never attended a book club in real life, let alone run one. But I figured what the heck; if you build it, they will come, right? And come they did.
I still remember that first book club meeting last February. I had chosen a Thai restaurant in town that I knew I liked and as I sat outside, I sent a frantic text to my friends at home, posted a squirrely status on Facebook, and sent up prayers that people would show up. And that they’d be nice. And that the conversation and discussion would flow…and that it would grow and continue.
And so it did. We’ve had folks come and go but there is a strong core group that has stayed. Many months, our conversations are more about our lives and what ELSE we are reading than the book at hand – and that’s ok, too. Life is all about relationships and that is what I had hoped would be built through the book club, forged on a common love of the written word.
As the months passed, my organizer discount for the site expired and I realized that this was a much more costly proposition than I’d originally thought. I know that some book clubs have dues but I didn’t want to require that; we already have the cost of books to consider and the fact that we meet at a restaurant so that (1) no one has to host and (2) new people can feel comfortable – coming to the home of someone you’ve never met in this day and age can be a BIT of a deterrent. I looked at various other options but it seemed that setting up a Facebook group was our best bet.
I set it up seven months ago, planning to close the group on January 1 on the original site. (Seven months! How’s that for planning?)
I’ve tossed and turned and flipped and flopped about the whole thing much more than is reasonable. The bottom line is that I can’t afford the monthly cost and I don’t want others footing the bill, either, especially when there are free options available. And for those who use Facebook, it’s actually easier to navigate than the prior site. It allows for more discussion and discourse on other topics beyond our next book/meeting.
In each correspondence though the original site, I’ve asked people to move over to the group. I’ve mentioned it at book club meetings, in emails, and on the discussion board. I have at least two regular attenders who don’t/won’t use Facebook and I’ve made arrangements to correspond with them via email to keep them in the loop. And some of the 70+ folks on our roster moved over but as of today, less than half had.
Then why did I feel so guilty this morning as I closed the original group for good? It feels like an ending, instead of just a change. Maybe I’ve had so many of both in the last 15 months that it’s become a default. More likely, it’s my old need to please rearing its head. Nothing has changed, beyond it’s locale. The core will likely remain, regardless of the means of communication. And we keep on, keeping on.
So here’s my reminder to myself:
The book club, just like the Dude, abides.